Annual open research lecture – December 2023

Annual open research lecture – December 2023

Open research – the set of practices that enable us to increase our work’s reach and impact by opening up research outputs and methodologies to a wider audience – is quickly gaining momentum in the Higher Education landscape. Our Annual Open Research Lecture, introduced in 2022, offers an opportunity to think through some of these ideas and their underlying philosophies and politics, in an inclusive and collegial atmosphere.

This session will be held in-person, with a hybrid option also available. It would be fantastic if as many people as possible can join us in person for the lecture and reception, but please do of course join online if this is not possible.

The lecture will be followed by a drinks reception for all attendees.

This year’s lecture will be presented by:

Dr Matthew Hanchard

Research Associate, Department of Sociological Studies and iHuman institute

Qualitative research: Towards a new socio-technical imaginary of open research

From the 1665 publication of Philosophical Transactions onwards, there has been a clear sociotechnical imaginary – or collective vision of what science ought to be – centring on openness, sharing, and transparency. This openness enables claims to be disproved (or not), which lies in conflict with any closing-down of knowledge-sharing for commercial reasons. These contradictory forces of openness and commercially-motivated closedness led to developments like the internet and Web drawing on reconfigured imaginaries which include some elements of both. As a closed military defence project opened to a small academic community, and then the wider public, the development of the Web was steeped in a free and open-source ethos, albeit with private ventures reaping rewards of collective endeavours. In doing so, it followed a post-World War II configuration of pure science being state-funded or citizen-led, with applied derivatives left to a free market. Operating within this environment, and amidst a turn to neoliberalism, scientific research and publication met monopoly capitalism in the early 2000s, raising concerns over the future accessibility and openness of both pure and applied science.

By the early 2010s, the US Office of the President, European Commission, UNESCO and several funding bodies mandated that the research they fund must be published open access – a move to reassert accessibility, openness, and transparency, for non-applied science at least. This has recently been extended to data, posing challenges for qualitative research – often steeped in interpretivism, which makes data hard to verify. Building on the notion of ‘renderability’ to articulate claims to transparency from non-STEM research, in place of concepts of reproducibility or replicability, this lecture examines existing examples of open qualitative research to theorise the contours of a new landscape emerging around open qualitative research.

When : Wednesday 6 December 2023 3:00pm

Where : The Diamond, LT5 / hybrid, The University of Sheffield, 32 Leavygreave Road, Sheffield, S3 7RD

Book Your Place

‘How to Share…’ seminar series

‘How to Share…’ seminar series

Our How to Share.. series contains short, bitesize seminars that look at how best to share different research data types to help you make your research outputs more FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable) and open.

Informed by success stories across the University, researchers will help share their knowledge and experience of the tasks and processes required to get your outputs in the best shape possible for sharing.

Coming up

How to Share… Survey Data

7th November 2023, 13:00 – 13:30, The Wave & online

In this session, Aneta Piekut from the Sheffield Methods Institute explores both the positive and negative experiences she has had with sharing survey data, as well as imparting helpful, actionable guidance, focusing on the main philosophy that sharing data is easier if preparation is done across the project.

Aneta’s most recent dataset is an exemplar deposit of survey data. This has been made openly available to allow other researchers to benefit from the work Aneta and team did in collecting and processing the data.

Book your place

Unleash your data and software: bid for an award of up to £5000

Research students and staff at the University of Sheffield can now apply for an award of up to £5000 for a project to make their research data or software more visible and reusable.  

The funding competition is open to all researchers at the University of Sheffield, including postgraduate research students and those in research-related roles.

We strongly encourage applications from researchers from a diverse range of backgrounds, identities and communities. In order to facilitate inclusion and eliminate the possibility of implicit bias, applications will be judged on a name-blind basis.

The deadline for applications is 1st December 2023 at 10:00. For more information and details of how to apply please see here.

Editorial mass resignations: Collective action in the movement to open research

Wednesday 10th January 2024, 12-1pm

Recent times have witnessed a number of high profile mass resignations of journal editorial boards, with editors rejecting the conditions of (in)accessibility and commercial profit underlying their existing publishers.

In this Open Research Conversation, we hear from key participants in this growing mode of collective action. Johan Rooryck, now of Plan S, was editor-in-chief at the hybrid Elsevier journal Lingua before resigning to establish the OA alternative Glossa. Judith Green edited and co-edited Critical Public Health between 2010-2023 before a mass resignation to found a new journal on an open source platform, and Chris Chambers was among the editorial team at NeuroImage who resigned in protest against publisher profiteering in April 2023. From different disciplinary contexts, these scholars share their overlapping experiences of the pursuit of equity, openness and academic freedom in publishing, examining the potential of collective action and open access alternatives to provide a corrective to publishing oligopolies.

Judith Green: The Editorial Board of Critical Public Health, a Taylor & Francis owned journal, resigned en masse in July 2023 to start a new journal on an open source platform. The editorial team had for some decades managed the tensions between curating a home for a community of scholars and contributing to a commercial product, as discussed in an earlier editorial. However, corporate requirements for standardisation of processes, pressures to increase page volume, and an APC model of cost recovery for open access had eroded our ability to maintain the ‘spirit’ of the journal. The fate of the new journal will test whether evoking a ‘community of scholars’ or ‘the spirit of a journal’ is mere nostalgia, in a market where readers access papers not journals.

Judith Green is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Wellcome Centre for Cultures & Environments of Health at the University of Exeter. She was Editor or Co-Editor of Critical Public Health between 2010-2023.

Chris Chambers: When enough is enough – my experience of being part of the collective editorial resignation from NeuroImage, and what happened next.

Book your place here

Open Research Conversations x Lunchbytes session:  Making research software more visible and reusable: Open Source Software and FAIR4RS

Wednesday 6th December 2023, 12-1pm

Taking place as part of both the Open Research Conversations seminar series and the University of Sheffield Research Software Engineering team’s Lunchbytes series, this session explores the FAIR4RS principles, which seek to make research software more visible and accessible to, and reusable by, potential future users.

In this conversation, experts from the University’s Research Software community explore how the FAIR principles – Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable – can be applied to research software. With reference to specific projects they have supported, our speakers will detail how the FAIR practices increased the software’s potential impact and created possibilities for valuable future collaborations.

Book your place here

How to build an open research community: Inter-institutional perspectives

Wednesday 29th November 2023, 12-1pm

While centrally-led and policy-driven initiatives can be effective in supporting uptake of open research practices, the development of peer-led communities is nevertheless crucial in establishing an inclusive, sustainable and meaningful open research culture. But how do we best support the development of grass-roots open research communities? In this session, researchers and research-related colleagues from a range of institutions share their experiences of the key considerations and strategies that inform open research community-building.

From the University of Sheffield, Neil Shephard will discuss the Open Scholarship Community Sheffield, a new initiative which is part of the International Network of Open Science and Scholarship Communities (INOSC) and aims to create space for peer-to-peer support outside of the formal structure of top-down policies. Lufti Bin Othman and Kim Clugston will explore the Data Champions Scheme and other initiatives from the University of Cambridge, and Hardy Schwamm will discuss community-building strategies and activities at the University of Galway. These talks will be followed by an open discussion of the possibilities and challenges of community-building around open research.

Lufti Bin Othman and Kim Clugston: In our short presentation, we will introduce the Data Champions Programme at the University of Cambridge, a valuable community through which Research Data Management is advocated for and supported at the University. We will describe the community in terms of its demographics and the areas of subject specialisations that the Data Champions represent, and we will also give a little insight into how the Research Data Team maintain this programme. We will also give a short introduction to the establishment of an Open Research Community on behalf of the newly appointed Open Research Community Manager.

Hardy Schwamm: In 2019, Open Scholarship enthusiasts in the West of Ireland founded the Open Scholarship Community Galway (OSCG), based on the Dutch Open Science Community model. Countless Open Scholarship Cafés and three Open Scholarship Weeks later, we relaunched OSCG this summer. Open Scholarship Librarian Hardy Schwamm will outline why an OSC is a good idea and what lessons we have learned in the last few years.

Neil Shephard: How I started an Open Scholarship Community by mistake – Neil will talk about his experience of undertaking the INOSC Incubator Programme and how it guided the structure and launch of OSC Sheffield.

Book your place here

Scholars are doing it for themselves: The challenges and opportunities of open access scholar-led publishing

Monday 23 October 2023, 12-1pm

Scholar-led publishing – publishing which is managed and led by academics rather than commercial publishers or other institutions or bodies – provides an opportunity for researchers to determine the conditions under which academic work is circulated. Consequently, it can present a range of opportunities for the open, equitable, diverse and inclusive circulation of knowledge.

In this session, we explore a range of perspectives from researchers operating in and engaged analytically with this space, including Toby Steiner (Flavours of Open), Meredith Warren (co-editor-in-chief of the open access scholar-led Journal for Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies) and Emma Cheatle and Luis Hernan of the open access scholar-led architecture journal Field.

Luis Hernan and Emma Cheatle: In this talk we share our experience in editing field:. The journal launched in 2007 as the first open-access publication in the field and, in the following decade, it gained a reputation for its ability to attract rigorous research whilst providing a forum to a diverse set of voices and disciplinary traditions. We took over the journal a few years later, facing the multiple challenges of updating its infrastructure and rethinking its ethos and editorial processes in the face of an evolving landscape of open-access publishing.

Meredith Warren: This talk will focus on the development of the Journal for Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies, the flagship journal of the Sheffield Centre for Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies. This open-access, scholar-run journal published its first issue in 2018. I will discuss the origin story of JIBS, featuring the challenges and benefits of ‘DIY’ open access, including database indexing, DOAJ acceptance, and promoting a small journal in the vast ocean of corporate publishing.

Meredith Warren: This talk will focus on the development of the Journal for Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies, the flagship journal of the Sheffield Centre for Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies. This open-access, scholar-run journal published its first issue in 2018. I will discuss the origin story of JIBS, featuring the challenges and benefits of ‘DIY’ open access, including database indexing, DOAJ acceptance, and promoting a small journal in the vast ocean of corporate publishing.

Toby Steiner Collaboration over competition: On the role of scholar-led publishing and Open Access in the Humanities and Social Sciences – This presentation will provide a bit of a closer look at the practice of scholar-led publishing within the Humanities and Social Sciences, with a particular focus on Media Studies. Following an introductory framing of what is meant by ‘scholar-led’ in this context, the presentation will take a diachronic approach to showcase early proponents as well as recent open access initiatives that focus on providing scholar- and community-led alternatives to publishing via large commercial entities.

Book your place here


OpenFest is the University of Sheffield’s flagship celebration and exploration of open research, providing an opportunity to explore current issues, share experiences, and consider how open research can be applied in your discipline. 

Register for our OpenFest events using the links below.

Workshop on GitHub for academic collaboration

Monday 4th September, 10.00-12.00, in person

Led by Robert Smith (School of Health and Related Research, University of Sheffield)

This workshop for researchers at the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University will provide a straightforward look at how GitHub can enhance academic collaboration, and a practical introduction to using GitHub and other tools in academic settings. The workshop will cover:

  • The benefits of GitHub for academic collaboration
  • Setting up RStudio with Git and GitHub
  • How to collaborate with colleagues on projects in script-based programming languages (e.g. R)
  • Where to find more information – online resources and courses

Note: Delegates will require R and RStudio ( and Git ( to be installed on their laptops before the session if they want to follow the examples in real time.

Refreshments will be provided.

Register for the event (in-person attendance) here.

OpenFest Sheffield Showcase

Wednesday 6th September, 09.30-17.00, in person with hybrid capability

Featuring keynote speakers and talks from both of the Sheffield universities, this event for researchers and colleagues in research-related roles at the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University will provide a valuable opportunity to discuss and explore open research practice at the two institutions.

We will examine current initiatives which are building momentum around openness and explore the application of open practices in varying methodological contexts. The event will culminate in a drinks reception and launch of the Open Scholarship Community Sheffield, an inclusive, supportive, and active community for researchers to interact, share knowledge, and encourage good practice around open research.

Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

View the full programme and register for the event here.

Online symposium ‘New Perspectives on Open Research’

Thursday 7th September, 09.00-17.00

Featuring keynote talks from Martin Eve (Crossref / Birkbeck, University of London) and Malvika Sharan (The Turing Way), this event creates space for researchers across the UK and internationally to explore emerging perspectives and practices within the field of open research. 

We’ll explore how projects and institutions are reshaping open research infrastructures and reimagining platforms and tools. Panel discussions will address emerging and ongoing issues with the potential to shape our future practice and discourse around open research.

Keynote talks:

Against Austerity

Prof. Martin Paul Eve (Crossref / Birkbeck, University of London)

Arguments for open access are usually split along two axes: the educational and the financial. On the former, it is easy to see that the progress of science and scholarship is advanced by easy, free access to research. A more equitable system of educational access benefits everyone. However, on the second front, it is also argued that open access should be less expensive for libraries, signalling the end of the serials crisis. In this talk, using data from 7 million article records, I examine the publishing practices of scholarly publishers at different levels of revenue, clearly showing that professional publishers, with high levels of revenue, consistently perform better at tasks such as digital preservation. While remaining committed to not-for-profit and mission-driven solutions, I argue that there are more important challenges for open access publishing than merely reducing costs.

Open science for enabling reproducible, ethical and collaborative research: Insights from The Turing Way

Dr Malvika Sharan (The Turing Way, The Alan Turing Institute)

In this talk, I will discuss open science as a framework to ensure that all our research components can be easily accessed, openly examined and built upon by others. I will introduce The Turing Way – an open source, open collaboration and community-driven guide to reproducible, ethical and inclusive data science and research. Drawing insights from the project, I will share best practices that researchers should integrate to ensure the highest reproducible and ethical standards from the start of their projects so that their research work is easy to reuse and reproduce at all stages of the development. All attendees will leave the talk understanding the many dimensions of openness and how they can participate in an inclusive, kind and inspiring open source ecosystem as they collaboratively seek to improve research culture. All questions and contributions are welcome at the GitHub repository:

View the full programme and register for the event here.

Workshop on Re/defining open research values

Friday 8th September, 10.00-12.00, in person

What are the values that inform our open research practice? Are there different and potentially more productive ways to define these, with implications for the way we conduct and communicate research? This workshop for researchers at the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University will bring together researchers and research-adjacent colleagues from a range of disciplinary backgrounds to enable a cross-disciplinary conversation about open research values.

Introductory talks from a range of speakers, including those from qualitative methodological backgrounds, will be followed by activities to identify and finesse a set of alternative concepts through which we might reframe the values of an open research culture, e.g. vulnerability, generosity, radicalism, anti-hierarchy, notions of the gift. This will be followed by collaborative exploration of ways to enact these values at a practical level, focusing on those within the powers of ourselves and our institutions. 

Refreshments will be provided.

Register for the event (in-person attendance) here.

FAIR Faculty Workshops

The University of Sheffield Library will be holding a series of Faculty specific seminars looking at the FAIR principles which aim to make data (and other outputs) Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable.

These seminars will introduce the benefits of applying these principles (i.e. enhanced impact, increased collaboration, greater credit for all research outputs, speedier progress) and will showcase our new FAIR guidance resource, created to help researchers embed the principles in their projects.

These faculty specific seminars are open to all interested colleagues at all career stages, join us to find out how you can contribute to a FAIR future for research!

Registration is required. Please select the workshop for your home faculty or whichever best suits your discipline/availability.

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